Nurse says hospital wedding for coronavirus patient and his bride was 'part of his recovery, but it was also a part of our recovery, too'

Megan Sims
·4 mins read
Groom Carlos Muniz and bride Grace Leimann exchange vows over Muniz's hospital bed while he fought coronavirus. (Photo: Methodist Hospital)
Groom Carlos Muniz and bride Grace Leimann exchange vows over Muniz's hospital bed while he fought coronavirus. (Photo: Methodist Hospital)

The COVID-19 staff at a Texas hospital helped throw a wedding at the health care facility for a couple whose initial wedding plans were put on hold after the groom fell gravely ill with the coronavirus.

Carlos Muniz, a 42-year-old patient at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, was diagnosed with coronavirus in early July, forcing him to have to postpone his wedding to fiancée, Grace Leimann. In a video shared by the hospital, Methodist Hospital nurse Matt Holdridge said that Muinz “progressively got worse as time went on and ended up on ECMO,” which helps with cardiac and respiratory support, for almost 20 days.

It was not long before staff realized what they could do to help Muniz in his recovery process.

“I was speaking to Carlos about when he contracted the virus, [he said] it put their initial wedding on hold,” Holdridge said in the video. “When I heard this story, it sparked an idea in my mind ... what a better way to help him recover than to fulfill their dream of getting married together?”

So hospital staff began planning a socially distanced wedding for Muniz and Leimann at Methodist Hospital. Holdridge said the team had to limit the number of visitors that could be in the hospital while also work with specialized staff to make sure Muniz still had access to care in the event of an emergency.

On Aug. 11, the couple was married in a hospital room surrounded by staff. A video of the wedding shows Muniz reciting his vows from beneath a face mask. When it was time for the newlyweds to kiss, they blew air kisses and Leimann, also in a face mask, kissed her hand and touched her husband’s mask.

“It was intended to be a part of his recovery, but it was also a part of our recovery too, as nurses, as doctors, and staff in general at the hospital, because it was a big motivator for us, a big ray of sunshine for us in this pandemic that’s essentially been a lot of doom and gloom,” Holdridge said.

The registered nurse went on to explain that the day after the wedding, Muniz was able to get out of bed for the first time and a few days later, he was taken off ECMO. Holdridge also said that Muniz is COVID-19 free, even though he still experiences some of the residual effects of the virus.

“We do these things as nurses and as health care professionals because we feel like it’s our purpose here,” he said in the video. “We feel like it’s our role in society. During this pandemic, I’ve had to find creative ways to connect with our patients during this isolation that they’re involved in. And we want to be here and help and do everything we can.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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